After my time in Luxembourg and Bruges, I had a bit of time left over to explore Brussels, my final destination in Belgium. I found Brussels to be quite a quirky city, full of unexpected twists and turns.
I explored for an afternoon on my own, and then was able to explore a bit more with a coworker after our event before we both flew home the following day.
I started off with a quick tour to see the various “pissing” statues Brussels is famous for, and basically used this quest as a primer to explore the city on foot. The most famous, the Manneken Pis, is quite easy to find. Apparently, as we would discover when we visited the city museum, the current display version is actually a replica of the original. In addition, there have been about 8 different pissing boys over the years, and someone is employed, to this day, to dress them for different holidays and official state events. Who knew?
Less easy to find was the pissing girl, who is tucked down an alley behind a couple restaurants. She is a bit more… vulgar… in presentation, so I’m not surprised she is less known.
On my quest to find the final pissing statue, a dog, I decided to duck into a church to see the architecture (I also always light a candle for my late Catholic grandmother as a way of paying respects). Upon entering, I was treated to another unexpected delight – the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music was having their pipe organ final exam, and it was open to the public to listen in. As a previous student of music, I was game – and ended up listening for the better part of an hour to a beautiful free concert.
Once the final exams ended, I continued my exploration and finally found the pissing dog, tucked away casually beside a traffic abutment.
When my colleague joined me for our tour the next day, we did a similar path, and also stopped to grab an order of waffles to eat while we walked.
Overall, I think a day was the perfect amount of time to see Brussels – not too long, but long enough to explore its quirks and enjoy some of its charms.